Friday, October 08, 2010

"Oh, What an Atmosphere Encircles That Stranger"

We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us." --John Locke, English Philosopher (1632-1704)

Think of the word atmosphere. It not only describes the layers of vapor and gases that surround the orb on which we live; it also illustrates the places we enter into and perhaps even the attitudes and habits we choose to entertain. This can be coupled with influence. Each day we are both an influence and are influenced. This is an immutable truth. Yes, we are who we are. I have my influence and you have yours but there is a component of interaction that allows our personal atmospheres of thought and being to interrelate, to give and take, to change and develop.

This influence coupled with the gift of the Holy Ghost leads me to a powerful quotation by Elder Parley P. Pratt. It has been on my mind and I wished to share it. Speaking of the Holy Ghost he says:

"It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passion and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of the person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being."

"In the presence of such persons, one feels to enjoy the light of their countenances, as the genial rays of the sunbeam. Their very atmosphere diffuses a thrill, a warm glow of pure gladness and sympathy, to the heart and nerves of others who have kindred feelings, or sympathy of spirit. No matter if the parties are strangers, entirely unknown to each other in person or character; no matter if they have never spoken to each other, each will be apt to remark in his own mind, and perhaps exclaim, when referring to the interview– “Oh, what an atmosphere encircles that stranger! How my heart thrilled with pure and holy feelings in his presence! What confidence and sympathy he inspired! His countenance and spirit gave me more assurance than a thousand written recommendations, or introductory letters.” Such is the gift of the Holy Ghost, and such are its operations, when received through the lawful channel—the divine, eternal priesthood."
We each have an influence. We emanate that which we admire the most in regard to attitude, discipline, and outlook on life. So, no matter how the weather looks outside, may we all create an atmosphere of goodness and gladness. If we do, none will be a stranger.


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